After a deserved restoration procedure by the finest craftsmen in London, the gleaming Majekodunmi cup was dramatically delivered by a Caverton helicopter to the Lagos polo club moments before the final match of the most coveted prize in Nigerian polo.
But for the thousands of wowed spectators, there would have been very little doubt in their minds where the silverware would end up after all: In the hands of star player and patron, Adamu Atta – and for a record fourth consecutive year at that.
It is also Atta’s Fifth Chukker team’s seventh title in ten years, and his 11th since he first won the cup in 1998 with Team MIA-First Fuels, making him the most successful player and patron in the 55-year history of the trophy which was presented to the club in 1962 by the administrator of Western Region, Dr. M.A. Majekodunmi.
In addition to his rich Lagos pickings, Atta has also covered himself in glory with multiple wins of the nation’s other top high goal prizes, notably the Georgian cup in Kaduna which he won on eight occasions, as well as the championships at Keffi Ranch, Kano and Fifth Chukker amongst others.
But the Kaduna-born legend’s exploits are transnational as well. With hundreds of horses, physical assets and personnel spread across four continents – in Argentina, South Africa, Nigeria, UK and Dubai – Atta has become a global polo icon and the indisputable king of African polo who is revered and feted the world over.
After 25 very successful years dominating a very high octane, tough, physically challenging and financially draining sport like polo, word is seeping out that Atta may be seriously contemplating retirement. Nonetheless, a cross-section of pundits believe that the tremendous goodwill, admiration and affection he commands in the polo community could keep him going a bit longer.
Atta remains the most looked-up-to person in Nigerian polo, his presence illuminates tournaments and confers them with instant class and credibility. Beyond that, Atta and his fabulous Fifth Chukker polo and country club constitute the Gold standard for Nigerian polo. Polo Royals and Aficionados readily acknowledge that he is the man with the Midas touch, always making it look easy.
A firm believer that polo must give back to society, Atta has been supporting UNICEF and the Breast cancer awareness campaign for over a decade. The philanthropist is also ever willing to oblige other worthy causes.
For instance, when he is not playing in Windsor at a UNICEF fundraiser alongside World No.1 Adolfo Cambiaso and La Dolfina (the greatest team of all time), Atta could be engaged in Cape Town teaming up with Prince Harry in a charity match to benefit the Lesotho Royal Sentabale Trust.
At 50 and with an overflowing trophy cabinet, is Atta really contemplating retirement? Very dependable sources close to him told Polo Royals that he is doing such and that it makes a lot of sense for him to start easing off. That may be so but several aficionados counter that the man is addicted to polo and cannot do any considerable time without the adrenaline fix of a competitive match.
They maintain that for the multiple Patron of the Year award winner, polo will always remain an unfinished business because there is always that one more pony to buy, one more team to put together, one more trophy to win.